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Jack Stryker took two bullets in the leg in Vietnam and was carried back by one of his men. When he returns he tries to live a peaceful life in his cabin and resume dating his girlfriend, Sally. Meanwhile, a vicious cult let by Sam Raimi, who believes he is Jesus Christ, has been slaughtering people and doing blood sacrifices. When Stryker finds Sally gone, and her grandfather, Otis, used as a human dartboard, Stryker brings together his army buddies, gives them a stash of guns from under his bed, destroy an outhouse, and create a war zone not unlike Vietnam to destroy the evil cult. Written by
Scott Hutchins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Like all the other reviews stated clear already, "Thou Shalt Not Kill Except" offers more interesting trivia details than actual good cinema. The film is somewhat of a side-project of the "Evil Dead"-team; only the roles and duties were exchanged for this once. Bruce Campbell (co-)wrote and Sam Raimi (nowadays the acclaimed director of blockbusters such as "Spiderman") stars as a thoroughly depraved, sneering and serial killing gang leader. He's totally awesome in a tacky kind of way! That means Raimi is a downright lousy actor, but if you see him go over the top here and then subsequently picture him sitting in the director's seat of a $200,000,000 box office hit it's just a priceless image! The plot is familiar revenge/exploitation camp but ever more violent, senseless and uncompromising than it is usually the case. Four buddies that fought side by side in Vietnam reunite in their Michigan hometown for some random hard-drinking, sex with minors and blasting the hell out of wooden outhouses with shotguns. Meanwhile, there's a murderous gang of bikers active in the area. They're self-acclaimed messiahs, already killed several entire families and always clad nightmarish messages on the wall in human blood. You know, lovely stuff like "The Bloodbath is Coming!" Real-life scum as practice-shooting targets were just what our 'Nam buddies needed and it even gets personal when it turns out that the gang killed Stryker's befriended bartender and kidnapped his high school sweetheart. The body count in this film is enormous and each separate killing is somewhat imaginative. Unlike most Vietnam-themed retribution/vigilante flicks, like for example "Rolling Thunder" and "The Exterminator", the avengers here weren't depressed, embittered or dehumanized after serving in the war. Quite the contrary, they love bringing up memories about their tour together and literally enjoy shooting up the enemy ANY type of enemy! Much more than the other entries in this sub genre, "Thou Shalt Not Kill Except" is a pure glorification of violence. The filming style is gritty and very cheap, the editing and sound effects are really clumsy and the forced "happy" ending is truly hilarious. In other words; pure & genuine exploitation that won't get appreciated by everyone, but if you like this kind of trash and/or you want to see the other - more secret - side of Sam Raimi, "Thou Shalt Not Kill ... Except" comes with my highest recommendation.
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